Sunday, April 17, 2016

It's your responsibility

This week I heard a news item about Donald Trump.  He said two of his children, Ivanka and Eric,  had called and apologized.  They'd failed to register to vote so they wouldn't be able to cast their votes for him in the New York Presidential Primary.  He said he understood; they're busy people.  He didn't want to guilt them out.

I do not understand.  These are grown adults.  Why weren't they registered to vote before this?  Did they think voting was something only common people do?

My parents were from Poland.  They met in Nazi Germany when they were both guests of the German government, working as slave laborers near Ulm.  They certainly weren't given the opportunity to vote there; in their native Poland, there weren't many opportunities either.  They came to these United States of America in 1946 and became citizens five years later, which was the amount of time they had to wait in those days.  As soon as they became citizens, they registered to vote.  They didn't miss an election after that.

When we were little, our parents took us into the polling booth with them so we could see what voting was like and experience democracy in action.  Detroit, where I grew up, had curtained booths and small levers that were moved down for your candidate.  When you wanted to cast your ballot, you grabbed a large-handled lever and moved it from one side to the other.  That reset the levers and cast your ballot and opened the curtains for the next voter.  My sister and I loved the voting booth; we found it thrilling.  I felt like I was witnessing something important, which I was.

When you look at the website of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services,  seven rights as an American citizen are listed; one of those is the right to vote in elections for public officials.  One of the listed nine responsibilites is to participate in the democratic process.   This means voting.

Voting is a right that was won for all citizens through various fights over almost two centuries of American history.  There are over a billion people in the world who aren't given the option to vote.  Think of China.  Then think of North Korea.  Dear Leader didn't get there because he was elected by the people.  His daddy was a dictator and so was his granddaddy.  Running a dictatorship is the family business, just like business is the Trump family business.

So what went on in the Trump household when Ivanka and Eric were kids?  My parents were from very humble beginnings and talked to us about current events and civic duties, responsibilities, and rights.  We were a very middle class family and my parents worked very hard to get ahead.  My sister and I vote.  Ivanka and Eric, ages 34 and 32, respectively,  had every opportunity children of privilege might enjoy yet simply hadn't bothered to make the effort to register to vote, something that costs nothing but means so much.

I would suggest they be ashamed of themselves but I'm not sure they're introspective enough to understand the concept.

For all y'all in America, it's your right.  Be responsible and take advantage of your right.


  1. This is wonderful, Lena. I never feel more American than when I vote. In some countries, people risk death to vote. Here, rain can reduce voter turnout. That is wrong.

  2. Late to the party but I wanted to say that when I voted in Chicago recently, the woman giving directions during the process didn't understand that she had to allow everyone who was in line in time the chance to vote. Citizens started arguing with her and yelling, and her coworkers told her she was wrong. It was the weirdest experience. But those people were adamant that they were there to vote, and they were going to vote. It was nice.

    1. Hi, Liz. Thank you for participating in the voting process and standing up for your right to vote and the right of everyone in the line. Well said!

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